Impellitteri – Wake the Beast – The Impellitteri Anthology

Wake the Beast - The Impellitteri Anthology Album Cover Art

Impellitteri – Wake the Beast – The Impellitteri Anthology
Global Rock Records
Release Date: 30/09/22
Running Time: 02:09:34
Review by Simon Black

Chris Impellitteri has been very keen to point out to us on various platforms (including the EMQ interview that he did for us recently), that since starting this project in 1987 he has sold an awful lot of records (2 million of ‘em apparently) and played to some pretty large crowds (30,000 at one point), which is quite impressive for an American based act that few of us in the Western Metal scene have actually heard of before… But then that’s really rather the point of this huge release…

The challenge for Impellitteri has been that for a large part of his career, Japanese label JVC was the central lynchpin, and although they did a fantastic job in cracking the APAC market where all those lovely album sales and ticket stubs have mostly likely taken place, a huge proportion of his back catalogue has only been available on expensive Japanese imports until this point. Given that in Western markets, the only real demand for these costly items is for hardcore collectors of bands that are already well established and published there, who want to track down versions with different covers and bonus tracks. So it’s not the greatest way to penetrate a new market…

Enter this beast of an anthology…

This is a whopping three CD set material from 1987 to 2010 and with over two hours and thirty-three tracks worth, is pretty good value for money. What else is pretty damn good to my virgin ears is the material itself. 

Like many guitar shredders, there’s been a revolving door of supporting players over the decades (particularly on the drum stool), but co-founder vocalist Rob Rock has been in and out regularly, along with former Rainbow legend Graham Bonnet – which alone is going to make an old fart like me sit up and take notice, although to be fair the performances from other vocal contributors Mark Weitz and Curtis Skelton is pretty good too, given Impellitteri chooses singers of the long, high and loud variety to complement his impressive guitar work. 

And to be clear, Impellitteri are not a solo project – they are a band, and keyboard player Ed Roth and bassist James Amelio Pulli have been constancy incarnate since the early 1990’s, which means what you have here is a musically fluid and tight unit that’s been working together for a long time. And it shows…

Now about that guitar work I mentioned. Yes, this guy can shred, and most people who have come across the band might know it for either the Neo-Classical shredding instrumental ‘17th Century Chicken Pickin’ (which is the sort of style you might find on an 80’s Malmsteen / Rising Force album), or the anthemic 80’s Radio / Lighter Waver ‘Stand In Line’. These two tracks alone are vastly different from one another, and where Impellitteri stands head and shoulders over many virtuosos is the fact that he can make pretty much anything in the Melodic end of the Rock / Metal spectrum work just fine thank you very much. Although there’s plenty of Speed Metal bangers in here for those who prefer the heavier end of the spectrum (the belting ‘Wicked Maiden’ for example)…

More importantly, regardless of his genre choice for a track or album, the song-writing is what stands out here. Impellitteri may be able to shred with the best of them, but that’s not a technique he always chooses to use, so the net effect of hearing this set is effectively twelve studio albums and EP’s from three decades compressed into short, sharp and highly effective Metal shock. With some significant effort clearly also having been made to get all this wildly disparate source material into a consistent quality, and for the most part a consistent mix too (no mean feat when twenty-three years separate the recordings), this feels like some real effort has been made to properly introduce Impellitteri to the markets who may have blinked in the past. I hope this is successful, because material this good does not come along too often.

01. Victim Of The System 
02. Perfect Crime 
03. Power Of Love 
04. When The Well Runs Dry 
05. 17th Century Chicken Pickin’ 
06. Spanish Fire
07. Rat Race
08. Lost In The Rain 
09. Father Forgive Them 
10. Hungry Days 
11. Eye Of The Hurricane
12. Texas Nuclear 
13. Speed Demon 
14. On And On 
15. Stand In Line 
16. Secret Lover 
17. Fly Away 
18. Warrior 
19. Hold The Line
20. The Young And The Ruthless 
21. Ball And Chain 
22. Wake Up Sally
23. Wake Me Up 
24. Falling In Love With A Stranger 
25. Rock & Roll Heroes 
26. Anti-Social Disease 
27. Burning 
28. Freakshow 
29. Wicked Maiden
30. Garden Of Eden 
31. Propaganda Mind 
32. Stand Or Fall 
33. I’ll Be With You


This could take some time…

Chris Impellitteri – Guitars
Ed Roth – Keyboards
James Amelio Pulli – Bass
Rob Rock – Lead Vocals (1987–1988, 1992–2000, 2008–present)
Patrick Johansson – Drums

Graham Bonnet – Lead Vocals (1988–1990, 2000–2002)
Mark Weitz – Lead Vocals (1990)
Curtis Skelton – Lead Vocals(2003–2008)
Ted Days – Bass (1987–1988)
Chuck Wright – Bass (1988, 1992)
Dave Spitz – Bass (1988–1990)
Loni Silva – Drums (1987–1988)
Pat Torpey – Drums (1988; Died 2018)
Stet Howland – Drums (1988–1990)
Ken Mary – Drums (1992, 1994–1999)
Mark Bistany – Drums (1992–1994)
Phil Wolfe – Keyboards (1988–1990)
Claude Schnell – Keyboards (1990, 1993)
Ed Roth – Keyboards (1995–2007)
Glen Sobel – Drums (1999–2009)
Brandon Wild – Drums (2009–2012)
Jon Dette – Drums (2012–2018)


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities. 

Leave a Reply